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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

H          A          P          T          E          R           X\r

WRITTEN LANGUAGE

OUGHT our pedagogic conception of aiding the natural development
of the child to be arrested by an artificial acquirement derived
exclusively from the work of civilization; by this I mean written
language? How does this concern writing and reading? Here we
have clearly a question of teaching, and this teaching does not take
into account the nature of man. We have reached the moment
in which it is necessary to face in education the problem of culture
and therefore of the effort necessary to acquire it, even by the sacri-
fice of natural impulses. Every one knows that reading and writing
form the first tasks of the school; the first affliction of the man who
has to sacrifice his own nature to the requirements of civilization.

With regard to this question, those who were concerning,
themselves with the child himself, came to the conclusion that
it was best to delay as long as possible so painful a task, and they
considered the age of eight years just suitable for so difficult a
problem. Generally speaking, the teaching of the alphabet and
of writing begins at the age of six, it being considered almost
a sin to introduce early childhood to the alphabet and written
words. Written language* is in fact, like the second dentition, of
use only ia an advanced stage of development. It is language.